Avoid cooking hot food with plastic spoons, spatulas and whisks because toxic chemicals ‘could leach into your dinner’, scientists warn
- Experts say cooking spoons, whisks and spatulas give off harmful oligomers
- Plastics are toxic and ‘trigger liver and thyroid disease’, German scientists say
- They have warned consumer not to use the utensils on food over 70C (158F)
Keep your plastic utensils away from piping hot meals or risk ingesting a slew of toxic chemicals, health experts have warned.
Scientists say many cooking spoons, whisks and spatulas contain harmful substances named oligomers which leach onto food at temperatures above 70°C (158°F).
If swallowed in high doses, these man-made chemicals may trigger liver and thyroid disease. They have also been linked to infertility, cancer and high cholesterol.
The stark warning was issued in a new report from the food safety watchdog, the German Federal Institute For Risk Assessment (Bfr).
Many plastic cooking spoons, whisks and spatulas contain harmful substances which leach onto food at temperatures above 70C, scientists say (file image)
It comes amid mounting evidence that plastics used in the food industry harbour a host of harmful toxins which seep their way into our meals.
Many plastic utensils are made from synthetic chemicals to make them durable enough to withstand boiling temperatures and remain grease-proof.
Animal studies have shown these chemicals to increase tumours in the liver, pancreas and testicles of mice, as well as reducing their fertility.
The Bfr has warned people to keep hot food out of contact with their plastic utensils as they can give off oligomers.
These chemicals try to escape when the plastic is heated up and can latch onto food if the utensils are in direct contact, they say.
The watchdog has also advised the government to force manufacturers to compile data on how much oligomers their products give off when heated up.
There is a lack of data on the toxic effects of oligomers in humans. But scientists from Bfr estimated the risk based on how dangerous chemicals with similar structures were.
The approach classifies substances into so-called Cramer classes. Each of these classes is assigned to a maximum daily intake that is unlikely to possess a risk to human health.
They concluded that ingesting just tiny amounts – 90 micrograms – would be dangerous to the health of someone weighing 60kg.
But when scientists put their theory into practice they found many household utensils gave off oligomers in much higher quantity than predicted.
They looked at 33 items and found 10 of them (30 per cent) could easily exceed the 90 microgram daily limit if multiple meals were cooked using them.
Based on this, the new review advised people to avoid using the utensils on hot food as much as possible, particularly meals 70°C (158°F) and above.
Regularly eating takeaways may lead to a lower sperm count because ‘burger wrappers and pizza boxes contain toxic chemicals that enter the body’
Frequently eating fast food may raise your risk of infertility and cancer – but not for the reason you may think.
Researchers analysed the blood of 10,000 volunteers in search of toxic chemicals called PFAs, known as the ‘forever chemicals’.
Results showed those who regularly ate takeaways had significantly more PFAs in their blood, compared to those who cooked at home.
PFAs are popular in the fast food industry for being grease-proof and durable. They appear in burger wrappers, pastry bags and pizza boxes.
Frequently eating takeaway meals may raise your risk of infertility and cancer due to toxic chemicals found in fast food packaging (stock)
The man-made chemicals have been linked to infertility, as well as cancer, thyroid disease and high cholesterol.
Researchers from the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts, looked at data taken from 10,106 participants in the US.
The volunteers were asked detailed questions about what they ate in the last 24 hours, seven days, 30 days, and 12 months.
The participants provided blood samples that were then analysed for a number of different PFAs chemicals.
People who ate home-cooked meals more often had significantly lower levels of PFAs in their bodies, the researchers found.
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